MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Delegate Michael Folk, R-Berkeley, today criticized Gov. Jim Justice and West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee for distorting the truth about WVU’s recently announced 5-percent tuition increase.
“The Governor and Gordon Gee once again went heavy on hyperbole and light on the truth yesterday when they said these tuition increases fall at the foot of the Legislature,” Delegate Folk said. “One simply has to look at the budget bills introduced to realize the facts tell a different story.”
Last year, West Virginia University’s General Administrative Fund received $110,305,960 from the Fiscal 2017 Budget . That was prior to a 2-percent mid-year budget cut implemented by former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
This year, Gov. Justice proposed a 4.4-percent reduction for WVU and Marshall University, which he said those schools could absorb. His original budget, introduced as House Bill 2018, called for $105,448,163 in funding for the university.
The budget bill he introduced in the recent special session called for an even further reduction to $103,242,044. The budget that was eventually passed by the Legislature granted $102,931,727 in funds.
“The difference between the WVU budget the Governor introduced in special session and the one passed by the Legislature was just $310,317 – yet he insists on blaming the Legislature for the cut in funding,” Delegate Folk said. “It is a bald-faced lie by the Governor to say it is all the Legislature's fault when each of his proposals cut at minimum almost $5 million!”
Delegate Folk also said the revenue WVU will generate from the 5-percent tuition increase will far exceed what the school lost in state appropriations. According to the university’s five-year financial plan, a 5-percent increase was projected to increase revenue by nearly $23 million over the next fiscal year.
“WVU is raising tuition almost $3 for every $1 of reduced state funding, yet President Gee wants you to believe these tuition hikes are all the Legislature’s fault,” Delegate Folk said. “I think Gordon Gee has joined the Governor in the big lie.”